Quick facts about South Africa
South Africa, known officially as the Republic of South Africa, is a gorgeous country that everyone should visit at least once in their life. The weather is great, it has stunning beaches, unique wildlife, and delicious food culture, and soon there will be a digital nomad visa for South Africa.
Like many countries, South Africa suffered a major decline in tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they’re looking to reactivate the economy and recoup some of their losses by introducing a digital nomad visa. This visa was just announced in April 2022, and it is not active yet. In this article, we’ll break down everything we know so far about the digital nomad visa so you can start preparing yourself to visit South Africa!
Living in South Africa as a digital nomad
South Africa has been capturing the attention of many travelers for years now. It has breathtaking landscapes and unique ecosystems. It’s also the perfect place to explore classic African scenery. You’ll see golden savannahs, stunning coastlines, enormous gaping gorges, and beautiful deserts. South Africa has something for everyone looking to satisfy their wanderlust.
South Africa is also an attractive place for digital nomads and remote workers. Not only will you get the chance to explore the many natural wonders the country has to offer, but you’ll also get the chance to discover many different cultures and languages.
Even though South Africa has 11 official languages, there are many English speakers, so you’ll be able to communicate with many of the locals. Plus, the cost of living in South Africa is extremely affordable. You’ll find all the amenities you need in cities like Cape Town or Johannesburg.
Attractions and best places to visit
South Africa is home to many private reserves and lodges. If you love nature, South Africa is perfect for you. You’ll get to see lions, giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and many other animals in their natural habitats.
Head towards Kruger National Park, one of the best game reserves in Africa. It is a 4-hour drive away from Johannesburg. Here you can see lions, buffalos, leopards, rhinos, and elephants. As well as a vast diversity of other wildlife. The Kruger National Park is also home to San (indigenous) rock paintings and archaeological sites.
You must also visit Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, one of the largest wilderness areas in the world. It is located in Northern Cape and is the first officially declared transfrontier park in Africa. You’ll get the chance to see camel thorn trees, red sands, golden grasslands, deep blue skies, and a huge diversity of wildlife. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is home to the famous black-maned Kalahari lions, gemsboks, weavers, meerkats, and many birds of prey.
If you’re looking for a mountainous landscape, then the spectacular Drakensberg is the perfect place for you. They’re known as the “Dragon Mountains”, and they’re located in KwaZulu-Natal. This region hosts the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage site with jagged basalt buttresses and San rock art. It is also home to Royal Natal National Park, with its jaw-dropping Amphitheatre, which is a cliff face and source of South Africa’s main rivers.
Also in KwaZulu-Natal, Durban’s Golden Mile is a great place if you want to explore the city. It has long blond beaches, high-rise hotels, shops, restaurants, and flashy entertainment complexes. This place is perfect for surfers, swimmers, and anglers.
Of course, if you want to visit a city then Cape Town is a must-go place for you. In fact, it is known as one of the world’s most breathtaking cities. Cape Town is surrounded by nature since it is situated between a rugged range of mountains and the sea. Cape Town is a multicultural paradise. You’ll get to explore the best things about South African culture, taste the delicious food, and befriend the locals.
Digital Nomad Hotspots
Cape Town is an up-and-coming digital nomad destination. It has beautiful architecture and culture, and plenty of tourist attractions nearby. Plus, there are many co-working spaces, nightlife, a vast coffee culture, and an established and diverse ex-pat community.
Another city great for digital nomads is Johannesburg. It’s a developing business center, so there are many business investing opportunities. The ex-pat community is also growing tremendously. Johannesburg now offers multiple co-working and meeting spaces for remote workers. Sadly, Johannesburg is not the safest place, so you might want to take that into consideration before settling there.
Pretoria is another place that has caught the attention of some digital nomads. The lifestyle there is more laidback, and the ex-pat community isn’t too big, but if you’re looking to explore something different then definitely give Pretoria a chance.
Cost of Living
The official currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. Unfortunately, the value of the Rand against other currencies changes constantly, so you’ll need to keep on top of it to know exactly how much you need. At the moment, 1USD = 15R approximately.
You can expect to pay around $594/month for a studio apartment in the city center. A bigger apartment costs $981/month.
A meal at an inexpensive place will cost you around $8. A combo at a fast-food restaurant costs $4.50.
Digital Nomad Essentials
Cape Town has a number of public transportation options. They have the Golden Arrow Bus Service, which operates in the Cape Town metropolitan area. There’s also the Metrorail Western Cape, which is a train service. MyCiTi is Cape Town’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, and it operates in and around the Cape Metropole. There are also many taxis and minibusses available.
Internet in Cape Town is good. Many co-working spaces have fiber optic internet ranging from 10Mbps to 200Mbps. You’ll also find a lot of hotspots all over the city. Unfortunately, many places that offer free Wi-Fi will have really slow internet, or offer you tiny free tiers ranging from 30Mb – 50Mb. The best option is to purchase a SIM card in order to have a fast and reliable connection whenever you need it.
As mentioned before, Cape Town has many co-working spaces available. Here are our favorites:
There are also many coffee shops all around the city that are perfect for remote workers to settle and get some work done. Check these out:
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In April 2022, the South African government announced their visa for digital nomads. South Africa wants to attract more foreigners and tourists to enjoy everything the country has to offer. After the effects of COVID-19 and all the travel restrictions, there was a sharp decline in visitors. By inviting foreigners to live in South Africa, the economy could restart and recuperate from the big losses it suffered.
The digital nomad visa will allow remote workers (people who work or freelance for foreign employers, companies, or even run their own business) to stay in South Africa. At the moment, foreigners are already allowed to stay for 90 days, but with the digital nomad visa they’ll be allowed to stay there for longer. The proposal is for the visa to be valir for a year with the possibility to be renewed.
The Department of Home Affairs have also reported that the visa will have attractive provisions for dependents of the visa applicants.
All details have not been disclosed yet, and the visa is not available yet. We will keep you updated as soon as more information is revealed.
Keep in mind that traveling to South Africa may come with some restrictions. Stay up-to-date with the COVID-19 entry requirement for South Africa here.
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Who Can Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa for South Africa
The South African visa for digital nomads will be available online for digital nomads from all countries. At the moment there are no nationalities restrictions.
As many similar digital nomad visas, it is likely the South African digital nomad visa will have a minimum salary requirement. Though the amount is unknown at the moment, there are rumors that the minimum amount will be $3,000 per month.
It is also likely the applicants need to show proof of work and medical insurance.
How to Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa for South Africa
The application process is not open yet, unfortunately. The South African government just announced the proposal for the visa on April, 2022, so it will take some time before it comes into effect. We’ll update this page as soon as the steps to apply are confirmed.
Documents required to apply for the digital nomad visa for South Africa
Proof that you work or freelance for foreign employers or own your own company
Monthly minimum income
Proof of accommodation
How much does it cost?
This information is not available yet. We will update this page as soon as we know more!
Timeline for Applying
The application timeline is not confirmed yet, since the digital nomad visa is not official yet. Stay tuned for more updates!
Curious about other digital nomad visas that you may be eligible for? Enter your details in our Visa Wizard to get a list of all the options available to you.